A fraudster who tricked people in Hounslow into handing over thousands of pounds in the hope of getting help in processing immigration applications has been jailed.
Harvinder Kaur Thethi who posed as a barrister, solicitor and Home Office official to con her victims.
The 46-year-old was found guilty of six counts of fraud by false representation at Southwark Crown Court in July and sentencing to five years in prison for the offences on September 6.
Thethi scammed her victims between June 2013 and September 2014 in Hounslow.
Despite being totally unqualified she falsely claimed to be a barrister, solicitor and a Home Office official with the ability to progress immigration applications.
She obtained £68,000 from vulnerable people in payment for immigration related services which were promised but not delivered.
Thethi, of Old Hall Gardens, Solihull, West Midlands, ganed the trust of her victims and was treated as a daughter or sister.
Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said: “You decided to embark on a fantasy life, when you claimed to be a successful lawyer earning a large income.
"You were nothing of the sort.
"The large amounts of money you obtained came entirely from money you had stolen from people you had befriended and cheated.
"People whose immigration status is precarious are very, very vulnerable. It is not surprising that if they found somebody they thought was a family friend, they could be convinced to part with large sums of money they could ill afford.
"You preyed on their vulnerability again and again…the investigation was thorough, fair, and - it is clear from the victim personal statements – kind. I commend both officers in this case.”
Speaking about the decision, Deputy Immigration Services Commissioner, Dr Ian Leigh, said: "The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner is here to ensure that people seeking immigration advice are treated fairly by qualified people they can trust.
"Thethi was operating outside of the law, preying upon vulnerable victims without regard for their protection or the consequences of her criminal behaviour.
"I am delighted with the outcome of this case, and I hope it sends a clear deterrent message to anyone considering acting similarly.”